Lest we need reminding, the Rapids finished 2018 in 11th place in the Western Conference with 31 points. They did finish strong—with two wins and one draw in the last three games—but that hardly covers the struggles that infected this team over what seemed an interminable season. The Rapids were 21st in scoring (out of 23 teams), earning 0.91 goals per game and beating out only Orlando City (0.82 gpg) and San Jose (0.62 gpg).
We also can’t forget the two record-breaking losing streaks during the season, along with the loss in the US Open Cup to first-year USL squad Nashville SC. The lack of goals, coupled with losing our two leading goal scorers (Dominique Badji and Joe Mason, due to trade and release, respectively) made this season severely frustrating for Rapid supporters.
Now that the 2018 campaign is in the rearview mirror, let’s look at who we’ve got moving forward.
No surprises here, but some Rapids supporters will be saddened to see a couple of these men depart. Meanwhile, we kind of forgot that others, like Mike da Fonte and Ricardo Perez, were still on the roster.
Kip Colvey struggled mightily at the beginning of the year and seldom saw the pitch. Homegrown Sam Hamilton only played three games for the Rapids after spending the majority of his time on loan with the USL’s Phoenix Rising and the Colorado Springs Switchbacks on loan.
The two players that fans wanted to see succeed but never met their expectation were Caleb Calvert and Enzo Martinez. Calvert spent most of his solid career with then-affiliate Charlotte Independence and many hoped he could bring his scoring skills to MLS, but alas this never materialized. Enzo immediately became a fan favorite with his relentless energy, but at times this energy made him overrun plays and make poor decision when an extra breath or beat could have helped.
Options Picked Up
Deklyn Wynne, defender; Kellyn Acosta and Dillon Serna, midfielders; and forward Niki Jackson.
To most Rapids supporters, Acosta, Jackson, and Serna are no surprises. Acosta joined the Rapids on July 23rd and debuted against Boca Juniors in a friendly. He brought an immediate spark with his talent, after finding difficulty seeing the pitch in FC Dallas due to the glut of midfielders on their roster. Two goals, three assists, and a definite difference-maker make keeping him on the roster a no-brainer.
Jackson brings a toughness and a swagger to the squad. Signed as a 2018 SuperDraft selection to a one-year contract with three option years for the club, Jackson appeared in 15 games and had three goals in his rookie season. Even with his ill-advised red card against Real Salt Lake, the Rapids saw enough in him to pick up his option and hope that next year will bring more seasoning and maturity.
Anthony Hudson used Dillon Serna in a number of different roles, and while his defensive skills need work, he continually provides an energy and spark every time he comes on the pitch, especially as a late-game substitute.
The surprise in this group was Deklan Wynne. While Wynne had a spot on the MLS Team of the Week after his solid performance at home against the Philadelphia Union on March 31st, Wynne was inconsistent for most of the year. Yet with the tenuous situation regarding Edgar Castillo, Wynne becomes the only option on the roster for that position. Wynne improved over the season, so we should give him his due, but his poor decision-making made him responsible for a number of goals this season.
Those Still Under Contract—Guaranteed
Tim Howard and Zac MacMath, goalkeepers; Kortne Ford, Marlon Hairston, Axel Sjoberg, Tommy Smith, Sam Vines, and Danny Wilson, defenders; Cole Bassett, Nana Boateng, Johan Blomberg, Sam Nicholson, and Jack Price, midfielders; Shkelzen Gashi, forward.
This group of men intrigues many Rapids supporters—for they know that the club is not done with roster moves. Is anyone up for a trade? Buy-out? Retirement?
Out of Contract
Andrew Dykstra, Goalkeeper; Yannick Boli, forward.
Dykstra played the majority of his time with the Independence.
Boli was a mystery, at times not given a chance to succeed when Hudson opted for a 5-4-1 (9-0-1) leaving him on an island to try to score, which was an impossible task. At other points, he would not make the 18. He was given time at the end of the year to make some noise, but that seems to not be enough.
Were there any players that you’re disappointed to see go?
Who else needs to be let go? Or, if you choose to stay positive, who are those who should be the core group to build around?